The Effect of Sclerostin and Monoclonal Sclerostin Antibody Romosozumab on Osteogenesis and Osteoclastogenesis Mediated by Periodontal Ligament Fibroblasts

Karina E Pigeaud, Melanie L Rietveld, Aster F Witvliet, Jolanda M A Hogervorst, Chen Zhang, Tim Forouzanfar, Nathalie Bravenboer, Ton Schoenmaker, Teun J de Vries

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Sclerostin is a bone formation inhibitor produced by osteocytes. Although sclerostin is mainly expressed in osteocytes, it was also reported in periodontal ligament (PDL) fibroblasts, which are cells that play a role in both osteogenesis and osteoclastogenesis. Here, we assess the role of sclerostin and its clinically used inhibitor, romosozumab, in both processes. For osteogenesis assays, human PDL fibroblasts were cultured under control or mineralizing conditions with increasing concentrations of sclerostin or romosozumab. For analyzing osteogenic capacity and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, alizarin red staining for mineral deposition and qPCR of osteogenic markers were performed. Osteoclast formation was investigated in the presence of sclerostin or romosozumab and, in PDLs, in the presence of fibroblasts co-cultured with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). PDL-PBMC co-cultures stimulated with sclerostin did not affect osteoclast formation. In contrast, the addition of romosozumab slightly reduced the osteoclast formation in PDL-PBMC co-cultures at high concentrations. Neither sclerostin nor romosozumab affected the osteogenic capacity of PDL fibroblasts. qPCR analysis showed that the mineralization medium upregulated the relative expression of osteogenic markers, but this expression was barely affected when romosozumab was added to the cultures. In order to account for the limited effects of sclerostin or romosozumab, we finally compared the expression of SOST and its receptors LRP-4, -5, and -6 to the expression in osteocyte rich-bone. The expression of SOST, LRP-4, and LRP-5 was higher in osteocytes compared to in PDL cells. The limited interaction of sclerostin or romosozumab with PDL fibroblasts may relate to the primary biological function of the periodontal ligament: to primarily resist bone formation and bone degradation to the benefit of an intact ligament that is indented by every chew movement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7574
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2023

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